Words are just Noise, let your Actions Speak: Impact of Nonverbal Communication on Undergraduate Medical Education

  • Anbreen Aziz Army Medical College, NUMS University, Rawalpindi. https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1469-1944
  • Farah Farhan Foundation University College of Dentistry, Islamabad, Pakistan.
  • Faiza Hassan Rawal Institute of Health Sciences, Islamabad, Pakistan.
  • Aasma Qaiser Kharian Medical College, Combined Military Hospital, Kharian
Keywords: Nonverbal communication, Kinesics, Facial expressions, Undergraduate Medical Education, Environment

Abstract

Objective: To explore student’s perceptions regarding impact of kinesics (facial expressions, gestures, head movements and postures) on undergraduate medical education.

Methods: A qualitative exploratory online survey was conducted from July-Sept 2020 among purposively chosen final year BDS students (n=150) of three dental colleges of Islamabad during COVID-19 lockdown phase. Semi-structured survey questions were validated and piloted before execution. Thematic analysis was performed, and consensus was built among all authors regarding findings, hence ensuring analytical triangulation.

Results: Response rate was 46% (69/150). Twenty sub-themes emerged under three domains of kinesics. Participants told that ‘neutral expressions’ frequently used by teachers create ‘boring learning environment’ and ‘hesitation among students to ask questions.’ A smile of teacher imparts ‘new degree of interest in the subject’ and gives ‘freedom of expression’ to the students. On contrary, anger ‘demotivate’ students, instills ‘fear among them’, make them anxious therefore, they are ‘unable to understand lectures’ which ultimately leads to ‘loss interest in the subject’. Use of gestures by teachers creates ‘enjoyable teaching-learning process’ but movements such as clearing throat or shaky legs produce ‘constant split-second interruption’. Moreover, standing posture of teachers bring ‘interest and alertness among students’.

Conclusion: Nonverbal communication can have positive or negative impact on undergraduate medical education. Therefore, teachers may start lecture with a smile and anger should be avoided to produce friendly and healthy learning environment. Faculty training is required for the effective use of nonverbal communication strategies to create an optimal learning environment for the students.

doi: https://doi.org/10.12669/pjms.37.7.4180

How to cite this:
Aziz A, Farhan F, Hassan F, Qaiser A. Words are just Noise, let your Actions Speak: Impact of Nonverbal Communication on Undergraduate Medical Education. Pak J Med Sci. 2021;37(7):1849-1853. doi: https://doi.org/10.12669/pjms.37.7.4180

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Author Biographies

Anbreen Aziz, Army Medical College, NUMS University, Rawalpindi.

Assistant Professor

Department of Dental Health Professions Education and Research

Farah Farhan, Foundation University College of Dentistry, Islamabad, Pakistan.

Assistant Professor

Department of Oral Pathology

Faiza Hassan, Rawal Institute of Health Sciences, Islamabad, Pakistan.

Professor

Department Oral Pathology

Aasma Qaiser, Kharian Medical College, Combined Military Hospital, Kharian

Assistant Professor

Department of Medical Education

Published
2021-10-05
How to Cite
Aziz, A., Farhan, F., Hassan, F., & Qaiser, A. (2021). Words are just Noise, let your Actions Speak: Impact of Nonverbal Communication on Undergraduate Medical Education. Pakistan Journal of Medical Sciences, 37(7). https://doi.org/10.12669/pjms.37.7.4180
Section
Original Articles